Leaving Teaching

I have a job that I love at a school that I love.

I love my desk. I love to sit there and plan. How wonderful to just sit and think and let dreams and ideas come. (And how wonderful to have a group of children who are required to participate in those dreams and ideas. Hehehe…)

I love the pacing, whirling walking and talking that I do at the front of my classroom. Some days it feels like a dance, bringing more and more energy as it goes along, and l feel like the longer and faster it goes, the longer and faster it COULD go.  (Perhaps teachers are an example of perpetual motion. Except that there are other days when standing up straight is all I can handle.)

I love having students and seeing not only who they are, but also who they are becoming.

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I have a job that I love, but I won’t be coming back to it next fall.

And I can hardly even stand to think about that. (I know, I know. It was my choice not to come back, so I don’t get to complain about it now. I will try to not be complain-y and just be… explain-y.)

Why am I not teaching again next year?

Well. It’s simple. Ricky and I are moving to Toronto! Ricky is a student at Humber College (in Toronto), and will be beginning his third and final year of his graphic design course in September. We are hoping to find an apartment somewhere close to his school.

This was not an easy decision. Picture weeks and weeks of flopping back and forth between staying and going, sticking with what we know and love or going on an adventure. Picture tears. Picture many, many journal entries and many, many lists comparing and contrasting the options.

It was the worst. I so badly wanted the adventure, but I so deeply love our life here. I am learning that my roots go deep. Finally, we just had to make a choice. We chose to go, and I am excited about it.

But I struggle with the thought of giving up the thing that I have been working on and learning about and developing for the past five years. Teaching has shaped me and taught me and hurt me and brought me to life and my school is woven all the way through my heart. I struggle with the thought of leaving before I have become the best teacher I can be. There is still so much to learn and develop, but it ALWAYS would be that way. You could always be a better teacher. Perhaps I am addicted to teaching.

I struggle with the thought of not having students- a group of children that starts to feel almost like a family. We learn each other’s stories and habits (good and bad) and dreams. We laugh and we cry and we learn and we struggle and we ask questions and we pray together. Like a family. What a beautiful thing to be allowed to have a part of, although not always easy. I feel very blessed.

So what are my/our reasons for leaving?

  1. It’s time for me to experience something new. I have spent 17 out of my 24 years at this school, and I have loved every single year of it (except for maybe grade 8… fourteen is tough). But… it’s time to love and learn in other places too.
  2. I want to live an adventurous life, and to be brave. I feel afraid of living the same life in the same place for my whole life. This is a great opportunity, and a good life stage for us to do something like this. (I feel torn over this point… because yes, I crave adventure, but I also love the familiar, small, everyday life. And I believe that a lot of life is learning and choosing to live well in those ordinary moments. Communities need people who stay.)
  3. I am afraid that sometimes I idolize teaching. Enough said. Distance might be healthy.
  4. The things that I love about teaching can be found in other areas of life too. The planning, the relationships, the routine, the creativity, the chance to show love, the chance to share stories, the chance to inspire others to see God- these things can happen anywhere, and it will be good for me to see what my gifts, weaknesses, and dreams look like in a different place. I know I will learn things. And maybe- just maybe- someday, I will be a teacher again and the things I learned and experienced will help me to be a better teacher.
  5. Maybe… maybe… there will be people in Toronto who will be glad for a Ricky and a Jasmine?
  6. We are excited about trying out city life and discovering new beautiful places.
  7. I like to think that not teaching will leave me with some extra mental energy that I will (in a very self-disciplined and focused way, of course) channel into creative projects, whether that is writing, painting, sewing, cooking, or playing piano.
  8. Perhaps you are waiting for a point that nicely says, “We are going because it felt like God is calling us to Toronto.” I think that sometimes, God does make it clear which way we should go. But other times, it seems like there’s more than one open door. It felt like either choice was one where we could serve God, and we didn’t feel a definite call to one or the other. So we just chose (after much prayer and thought). (And no, we aren’t associated with a mission or anything. We’re just going there to… live.)

 

I have one and a half more days of school (plus a picnic) left before summer holidays.

Tune in tomorrow to read about my least favourite things about teaching.

Tune in Wednesday to read about my favourite things about teaching.

And tune in on Thursday to read about… something. (I haven’t quite decided what yet. But it will probably be teaching-related, since this is my last week as a teacher. And honestly, I get it… nobody really wants to think about school after Thursday. Hello, summer holidays!)

One thought on “Leaving Teaching

  1. First, I know the gal in the picture, because I saw the card on a dresser just yesterday. 🙂
    Second, there were parts of reading this that made my eyes start to burn, but no cooling tears came. I have been in a season when I thought I might be leaving teaching forever, and even now, there are no guarantees, only “well-laid plans.” And I hurt for you, because in a small way, I understand.
    Third, when I read about your roots growing deep I couldn’t help but think of my aloe vera plant that took off after I transplanted it into a different pot AND after it left the classroom. (Students are too zealous of waterers for a cactus.) Yet, like the aloe vera, it will take time; but one day, you will bloom again my friend. (Except aloe vera doesn’t bloom. It just grows many more thick leaves juicy with cooling gel for things like sunburn–when one goes to the beach.)
    🙂 Does this remind you at all of Gr. 8 notes?

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